Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders place in the Top 10 in varied conditions


Bo Bendsneyder and Niccolo Antonelli start Malaysian GP inside the Top 10 in both dry and wet, completing the day in sixth and eighth position, respectively.

The penultimate round of the Moto3 season began this Friday at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders undertook two completely different Free Practice sessions: The first in hot conditions and on a completely dry track; and the second, in the rain. In both sessions, both Bo Bendsneyder and Niccolo Antonelli were within the Top 10, with their FP1 positions of sixth and eighth, respectively, those they occupied on the combined timesheet.

Good weather greeted the Moto3 riders for the first session of the weekend. Both Bendsneyder and Antonelli used their first stints to get a feel for a track at which they hadn’t ridden for a year. It was after their only pit stop that both took an important step forward. Bendsneyder, sixth, was one of only six riders to go round in under 2:14, with a 2:13.961 lap. Teammate Antonelli was less than a tenth slower, in eighth with a 2:14.054.

A similar script was followed by the Red Bull KTM Ajo pair in the second session, but with a major change: FP2 took place in the rain, on a completely wet track. This was not a problem for Bendsneyder, and with 5 minutes remaining he climbed to second position with a 2:29.321 time. Antonelli put in one last quick lap after the chequered flag came out, to place in the Top 5 with the fourth best time of 2:29.515.

Tomorrow, from 12:35pm local time -6:35am CET- qualifying will decide the penultimate pole position of 2017. Last year Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder took the spot in Moto3, while in 2015 it was Antonelli who was on pole.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 2:13:129
2. Adam Norrodin (Honda) 2:13.409 +0.280
3. Livio Loi (Honda) 2:13.437 +0.308
4. Romano Fenati (Honda) 2:13.581 +0.452
5. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 2:13.728 +0.599
6. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:13.961 +0.832
8. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:14.054 +0.925


“Today was a positive first day because we were fast both in the dry and in the wet. Obviously we can improve in both sets of conditions, but for a first day the feeling is positive. We have already analysed the telemetry and we know where there are some points to improve upon. We will see what the weather is like tomorrow, although we will try to do well whatever the conditions on track.”

“The truth is that the feeling on the bike today was good, both in the dry and in the wet. We will see what conditions we encounter tomorrow, because it seems that they will be similar to today, although if the rain comes later, maybe we can enjoy a dry qualifying session. I think we are in a good situation in any conditions that we are presented with, so we are prepared. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and want to improve and do my best.”